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Hoedown strikes patriotic chord

October 02, 2005|By TAMELA BAKER

tammyb@herald-mail.com

WILLIAMSPORT

All the usual activities were in full swing Saturday at Williamsport's annual Harvest Hoedown at Byron Memorial Park - a little line dancing, a flea market, craft vendors peddling their wares and people climbing into a wagon for a hayride.

Children lined up for tickets at a quarter apiece to play games and maybe win a prize.

"It hasn't been slow too much," Fairplay resident Wendy Hite said from her station behind the ticket booth.

Sponsored by the Williamsport Ministerium, the autumn festival benefits the Willliamsport Food Bank. Last year's event raised nearly $12,000 - and several tons of food items.

This year's festival included a new element: A salute to the armed services, complete with patriotic tunes from the Williamsport Community Band and a Civil War re-enactment company, the 1st Alabama Artillery Unit, firing 21 volleys in honor of local veterans from all branches of the military.

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Veterans of each branch were asked to stand; some removed hats and placed them firmly over their hearts as the band played their respective anthems.

The band, assembled in the park's gazebo bandstand, played a few other tunes as well, including Karl King's circus classic, "The Walking Frog."

Elsewhere, children made scarecrows, lassoed a sawhorse with hula hoops, dug for buried "treasure" in a small inflated pool filled with sawdust and tossed toy animals through holes in a wooden "ark."

The most popular game, said Susan Morren, a volunteer from Falling Waters, W.Va., had allowed children to win goldfish, but it was shut down before the festivities ended - it proved so popular, there were no more goldfish.

Train rides - plastic cars pulled by tractor - also were popular, she said.

By 3:30 p.m., about $1,200 in tickets had been sold for the games, Morren said. She estimated 300 to 400 children had come to play.

And she was a little relieved the hoedown was nearly over.

"We're almost out of prizes," she said.

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